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Business Process Automation: The Evolution Of “systems Of Record” To “systems Of Engagement”

By Expert Author: Ray Hughes

Document scanning providers and integrators of enterprise content management (ECM) are increasingly transforming, simplifying and automating the business of real-time, information intensive customer interactions to streamline the new account on-boarding process, to enhance customer service and to gain a competitive advantage – all while dramatically reducing operating costs.

This business process automation (BPA) is possible with document scanning, workflow automation, mobile capture and workflow, and process analytics. The result is the evolution of “system of engagement” (scan-to-process/workflow) and “system of record” (scan-to-archive).

How Evolved BPA Works

An effective business process automation solution starts by capturing customer interactions anywhere and anytime. The content of these interactions is automatically extracted and initiates a workflow, typically to review, approve/reject and process an account or transaction– e.g. an alert to an accounts payable clerk to approve and GL-code an invoice (or to send it back for changes), or to an underwriter to analyze credit and approve or reject a loan.

The original documentation, now digitized, is then stored in a document management system (software or cloud) and made available to authorized employees until the automated retention schedule calls for the document to be destroyed.

The Inception of BPA

Business process automation begins at the source: where the first customer interaction occurs. BPA solutions enable users to capture information immediately and when it’s first available – whether from a customer's kitchen table, local branch or in the field on a smartphone or tablet.

Straight-Through Processing

When little or no human intervention is needed in a process, it’s referred to as straight-through processing – with the limited processing being needed to handle exceptions. Automatically classifying, extracting, validating, and delivering content into systems of engagement can dramatically reduce processing time and cost, which can be the difference between a new customer and one that walks away, or a happy customer instead of one dissatisfied with the process or how long it takes to get something done.

Integration Is Key

Even the most feature-rich business process automation software isn’t worth much if it doesn’t work with your existing IT infrastructure, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and other line-of-business (LOB) applications. This translates into a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and higher return on investment (ROI).

BPA software doesn’t integrate itself, so you’ll want to find an experienced integrator with experience integrating business process automation solutions with the software used by your organization.

The Smart Process

The result of integrated BPA is the “smart process.” Smart processes enable organizations to operate faster, better and cheaper, giving them a competitive advantage over those who are still mired in paper, slow to respond to customers and whose information is trapped in silos.

Ray Hughes is the author of this article on Business Process Automation.
Find more information, about Workflow here

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